Mira Branham | Reporter
How many LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, etc.) people do you know? I bet you don’t know me. I’m bisexual, and I’m not the only person in my family who identifies somewhere along the metaphorical rainbow.
As a member of an LGBT family, I think I have a pretty extensive knowledge of the community and those who are in it. For me, at least, open conversations surrounding genders and sexualities have become a normal occurrence at the dinner table, but I know that’s not the case for everybody.
So, to spare you any future embarrassment or social mishaps, here are my responses to some frequently-asked questions and comments about LGBT people:
How do you know if you’re LGBT?
Everyone is different. I personally went through a period of questioning, during which I consulted the internet and the LGBT people I knew. I realized I was bisexual when I went to an Indy Pride festival and learned the term “bisexual”; I felt like it described exactly how I was feeling.
What’s the difference between gender and sexuality?
Gender is your identity within the male/female/non-binary range, and your sexuality, or sexual identity, is who you feel emotionally or physically attracted to. For example, I am a female (gender), who is bisexual (sexuality).
“You don’t look gay.”
Don’t say this to anyone… seriously. How you present yourself to the world differs from your personality to the way you dress. Some LGBT people may choose to dress more “stereotypical”, but others may choose to be more introverted when it comes to expressing themselves. If I showed you the looks on people’s faces when I came out…
“Being gay is just a phase.” / “Are you sure you’re not just confused?”
Not really. Before I came out, yes, I was confused, but that was because I didn’t know how to deal with what I was feeling. Some people do come out as bisexual and then decide they are simply heterosexual or homosexual, but it’s up to the individual. It hurts when people don’t believe that you know yourself well enough to be who you are. How people identify and express themselves is unique and personal, so either accept people for who they are, or quietly walk away.
Graphic by Morgan Jones.